Praying for perfection before protection

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Tuesday, April 14th. Thanks for joining us today for The WORLD and Everything in It. Good morning! I’m Mary Reichard.

NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher.

The coronavirus has touched nearly every aspect of our lives: our health, economy, and travel to name a few. But the pandemic is also threatening life-long dreams, and callings. WORLD reporter Myrna Brown on how one Georgia couple is pressing on.

AUDIO: [Baby noises]

MYRNA BROWN, REPORTER: Savannah Lopez has her hands full. The petite young wife and mother holds a 10-month-old in one…

AUDIO: [Thermometer beep]

…and a thermometer in the other. For the past two weeks, this balancing act has been her daily routine. 

AUDIO: [Thermometer beep]

SAVANNAH: Every morning I have to take my temperature and normally I am holding Sophia when I do it.

Savannah is a 22-year-old nursing student, just two semesters away from graduation. 

SAVANNAH: I’ve wanted to be a nurse ever since I was about 16 years old when my brother was hospitalized for a minor surgery.

Savannah says while her mother was able to stay at the hospital with her baby brother, she saw other sick children left alone. And that broke Savannah’s heart.

SAVANNAH: And it made me really think what can I do to help me take care of these kids and I started thinking about nursing.

In February, Savannah started working as a nursing tech at Georgia’s largest children’s hospital. Unknowingly, she treated a patient who would later test positive for COVID-19. Savannah, her newly wed husband Lee, and baby girl Sophia were quarantined at their home. 

AUDIO: [Baby talk]

During the last week of their lockdown, Savannah says she felt fear for the first time during the ordeal.

SAVANNAH:I’m about to go back to work. What’s our plan going to be if I do get sick? What’s our plan going to be to keep me from bringing anything home with me, maybe on my shoes or on my clothes. 

AUDIO: Welcome Grace Lanier Live. We’re coming from our living room to your living room.

Savannah isn’t the only Lopez fighting to keep dreams alive during the unexpected interruption of the pandemic. In January her husband, Lee, began planting a new church about 30 miles from their home. 

LEE LOPEZ: We were gaining momentum, having people meet, build community between families and out of nowhere you can’t meet anymore. 

LEE HOSTING ONLINE SERVICE: When you realize that Jesus did not come to condemn you but to save you, you will realize a sense of joy starting to birth inside of you. 

Due to Georgia’s stay-at-home order, the 29-year-old Honduras native had to stop holding services in the space shared with another church. Now, his only connection with his growing congregation is online, and that makes bonding a challenge.

LEE: I have this prayer group with men. The first week everybody was very open and joking and very laid back, then last week it kind of shifted. And this week it shifted even more because by this week probably 90 percent have lost their jobs or have very minimal income coming in. So not being able to be there and put a hand on a shoulder or see eye to eye and speak about the situation has been very tough.

Lee says the adjustments have sparked an unnerving question. 

LEE: I was even asking myself, “Lord is this a sign?” 

But instead of looking back in doubt, the two say they’re determined to move forward in faith. 

AUDIO: [Garage opening]

It’s an early Saturday morning and Savannah is pulling into the garage. She’s just spent the last 12 hours back in the pediatric ER.

SAVANNAH: My first day back was a little stressful because a lot of the protocols had changed. So it’s a lot more protection that we’re wearing for each patient.

She takes just as much precaution when she’s home.  

SAVANNAH: So I always take my shoes off as I get into my garage and I leave them by our door …. Every night before I go to work, I leave the washer empty so that I can just put whatever I’ve been wearing at the hospital directly into the washing machine. I go and take a shower right away and wash my hands and hair really well.

LEE: This is her calling in life. Just like my calling is being a pastor. This is how she brings light into the world. 

Both Savannah and Lee say they’re confident God will not protect them from what He will perfect in them.

LEE: The things that the enemy means for evil, God can turn for our good.  And in this season, that’s our hope. We’re just staying grounded and connected to God for the rest of the story.

Reporting remotely for WORLD, I’m Myrna Brown in Lawrenceville, Georgia.

(Photo/Lopez family)

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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